Cooking a steak in your oven lacks the panache of grilling, but it's useful for any carnivore's culinary repertoire. A grill isn't always handy, and even when it's available, the weather won't necessarily cooperate. If you master the techniques of oven-"grilling," you'll be prepared to turn out an impeccable steak even when the elements are against you. Broiling your steak gives a result very similar to grilling, and steaks pan-seared then finished in the oven can be equally impressive.
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The Broiling Method: Step 1
Season your steak at least 45 minutes ahead of time, using coarse sea salt or kosher salt. That gives time for the salt to dissolve and get absorbed into the beef, rather than simply sit on the surface. Apply a spice rub after salting, if desired.
The Broiling Method: Step 2
Arrange your oven's shelves so that your steak will be 4 to 6 inches from the heating element when resting on the broiler pan. Place the broiler pan on the upper rack and preheat your oven on its broil setting for 8 to 10 minutes.
The Broiling Method: Step 3
Blot any surface moisture from the steak with paper towels so it can't inhibit the beef's browning. Brush or spray the steak lightly with oil. This helps it to brown deeply without burning, and if you use a spice rub, it protects the spices from charring as well.
The Broiling Method: Step 4
Open the oven door, keeping your face away from the blast of heat that escapes, and use tongs or a heavy oven mitt to slide out the broiler pan. Place your steaks on the pan, positioning them directly under the heating element. Slide the pan back into place under the broiler and close the oven door.
The Broiling Method: Step 5
Broil 3/4-inch supermarket-cut steaks for 4 to 7 minutes per side, or until they reach your desired degree of doneness. Premium steaks of 1 to 1 1/2 inches in thickness can take up to 10 minutes per side. Use long tongs to flip them midway through their cooking time.
The Broiling Method: Step 6
Test the steak for doneness by removing it from the broiler and sliding an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the thickest section. Rare steaks read 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, while medium-rare read 125 to 130 F and medium steaks read 130 to 135 F.
The Broiling Method: Tips
• Electric ovens are often designed to remain open slightly when broiling, so consult the owner's manual to find out whether it should be open or closed.
• If your steaks are 1 inch or more in thickness, take them out while they're 5 degrees below your target temperature. They'll continue to cook for a few minutes because of their retained heat.
• Broiling generates very intense heat, just like grilling, and -- just like grilling -- it generates lots of smoke. Keep as many windows open as possible, turn your range's vent hood to its highest setting, and if applicable, use the "pause" feature on your smoke alarm to prevent it going off.
The Pan-Oven Method: Step 1
Season your steak ahead of time with a marinade, spice rub or just salt, as you wish. Remove it from the refrigerator before cooking, and blot any visible moisture from its surface with paper towels.
The Pan-Oven Method: Step 2
Slide a heavy cast-iron skillet into your oven, and preheat the oven to 450 F with the skillet in place. If you're preparing more than one steak, use a large skillet or more than one skillet.
The Pan-Oven Method: Step 3
Preheat a stovetop burner to medium-high once the oven reaches its target temperature. Use a heavy oven mitt, or an oven mitt and towel, to remove the preheated skillet from your oven. Brush or spray the steak lightly with oil and place it gently but firmly into the hot skillet.
The Pan-Oven Method: Step 4
Sear the steak for approximately 2 minutes per side, until it's deeply and aromatically browned. Sear the edges as well, if it's a thick steak, then return your skillet to the oven.
The Pan-Oven Method: Step 5
Cook the steak until it reaches your desired degree of doneness. For a ¾-inch steak, that might take just 2 to 4 minutes per side, while 1 ½-inch steaks might need up to 5 or 6 minutes per side. To be certain of your doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the steak. Rare steaks read 120 to 125 F, medium-rare 125 to 130 F and medium steaks 130 to 135 F.
The Pan-Oven Method: Tips
If you're in a hurry, you can broil your steak in the skillet rather than using a 450 F oven. Arrange your oven with a rack roughly 6 inches below the broiler element, and allow approximately 2 minutes per side once your steak goes under the broiler. If you'd like to slow the cooking process, reducing the risk of overcooking and buying more time to deal with side dishes, transfer the steak to a baking sheet instead of using the preheated skillet. That extends your cooking time by 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the steak's thickness. It also means you're not handling a super-hot skillet.